Sunday, February 17, 2019

Before Beltane

Are Impoverished youth more likely to sit once retired? Some do exhibit diminished imagination, get bored easily, and remain sideline spectators. Obviously depends upon opportunities they seized, or regimen they pursued, throughout careers. Bright, privileged children who are properly nurtured seem more likely to aspire to fame and fortune than kids who’ve dodged bullets and suffered trauma. “Twice burnt, shame on me,” leads to motivational paralysis. Isn’t a permissive culture a mixed bag? Must you endure problems to enjoy freedoms? The ease at which criminals and incompetents acquire assault rifles and automobiles can only be described as unconscionable.

As a child, had hardly any toys, made do with a borrowed bike, garden hose, other kids’ castoffs, real tools begrudgingly lent, or scraps of lumber. Still have scars to show. Built treehouses, did chores, dug holes, hiked around, played sports, practiced skills, and read voraciously, rather than swallow silly commercials, so acquired little but natural memories. Didn't have access to television until a teen, but embraced it as a labor saving device, a dozen complete stories digested in time it took to read a single dime novel. Starved for input, never questioned whether video was a net loss or unhealthy pastime. Generations were deliberately misinformed about details that could affect their very survival: asbestos, BB guns, propaganda, sex, toxins. Might as well include matrimony and monogamy, because even when you’ve been meticulously faithful, spouses will believe lies and misinterpret friendships or work relations. Everyone envies couples who stay together, so they become targets of divorcees, gossips, swingers and widows. Why put up with fading beauty, loveless duties, tongue lashings, and undeserved recriminations?

Demands of daily office upon Labann meant decades stuck in seat with eyes glued to monitor tubes. Without paid labor, this habit translates into sitting through televised movies and sports. Swilling beer also seems to make desperate leisure tolerable for some. Personally consider wandering about by bike a better alternative, less injurious despite risks, given sitting is the “new smoking”. Wondering why you seldom see anyone you’d describe as elderly scorching through neighborhoods? People for the most part possess little to no sense, purchase tickets to bounce in place to deafening bass beats, shackle selves in stadium seats to witness action occurring so far away you’d be better off at home watching broadcasts, though half consists of ads for things bad, especially for grandads.

David Flitcroft linocuts "Beltane Breeze" and (below) "Owl Encounter", plus more art from the bike shed by this cycling inspired artist.

After attending outdoor concerts, camping without tents, cycling to festivals, and mingling among eccentrics, in this century illusions and images have begun to replace meaningful physical experiences. Motorists dodge being detected, then flop at home to behold others being dissected. Esport OWL League of team gamers shooting zombies exemplifies how concussed contact players are being supplanted by no-touch celibacies. Many contests only stream online over exclusive high-speed connections poor or privileged have, not middle class suckers who share in nothing but support everything.

At its inception late rock icon David Bowie dubbed the Internet, "An alien from Mars that will radically alter all expectations of media... for better or worse." Its biggest effect by far has been the emergence of busy blogs and social blah, where people can bare their privacy to an unsympathetic public, experience utter apathy, and invite humiliation and infamy, as if critics and prosecutors were chaste characters who've never relented to harmless temptations. Free porn made Internet popular, after all. Some stick around for emotional cuddles of electronic echo chambers, which could validate vices and vindicate obsessions should you find a similarly damaged audience. The hypocrisy of sex scandals in high office implies you’d be better off kowtowing to know-nothing virgins, as if there were any in a world so overcrowded you’d think reproduction was humanity’s sole priority. Cock fights, pit bulls, political bills, and prize fighting are basically alike, preening to attract booty.

Psychiatric disorders typified 20th Century after two great wars left so many families of heroes with PTSD. Such suffering has a cultural component. With better access to information, you’d think that would hasten improvement in 21st Century. But nobody does. Mass confusion ensued. Behavioral theory was exploited for business publicity. Decades of discoveries on Earth and other planets, such as Mars, don’t impress majority. No businessman, charioteer, or plowman along the line knows what any of it is worth, neglected due vigilance, never watched for portents, riders or signals, so social contracts elapse and tyranny rises unopposed. Soon the wind of war will again howl, because it consolidates wealth among the few, something society seems determined to do.

B&C could be a threnody for greatness gone, since nation supposedly needs to fight to restore its status, according to a psychotic POTUS. Dominance shares no benefits, only lumps minion among targets and sorts between combatants. Should you buy into their bizarre arguments, you'll be used as cannon fodder or human shield.

A halfway acceptable riding day might stifle all this banshee keening, bitchy screeching, disappointed complaining. If only nature would stop producing slush, plows piling by roadside and spreading salt and sand, then whole mess freezing solid again, you could regain pavement and remount your two-wheeled steed. Instead, you might order maintenance from your local bike shop before they get too busy, and prepare for seasons to come with suitable purchases. Doesn’t hope spring eternally?

Some just won’t abstain from riding before Beltane, May Day’s fertility feast, or subscribe to primitive Wheel of the Year protocols with marmot prognosticators on Imbolc and timekeepers springing forward before Ostara, the vernal equinox. Bicycling happens year round, though spirits only speak to those sensitive to their presence, not just on Beltane and Samhain but whenever you’re immersed in rolling silence.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Free, Verlaine?

Grew up under a cloud of postwar suspicions about un-American activities, Red Scare of Senator Joe McCarthy, sensationalized accusations that ruined lives and were proven malarkey, spouted by a posse of paranoid schizophrenics including Ronald Reagan. Nobody can truly define term "American". Technically, it only qualifies as Western Hemisphere, that is, North or South American, but some would rather dismiss any neighboring sovereignty or nomadic constituency of pre-Columbian ancestry. Has come to describe ideals of a good citizen of the United States, as if all shared same ideals, which news events repeatedly prove they do not, not even close, as divided as any Middle Eastern region enduring perpetual redivision. Can any two humans ever agree on anything? Well, sometimes.

To majority of nation’s residents, American represents fairness, opportunities to get ahead based on elbow grease and steady habits, tolerance of personal, political and religious beliefs within rules of law, and worldwide charity as the biggest benefactor by far in human history, literally trillions of USD. In the last century, nation grew rich and strong by melding minds despite conflicting customs through faith in these flimsy sentiments. These days statutes proscribe all such precepts. Innocuous advice can get you fired. Bad upbringing and befriending losers might trip you up despite believing otherwise, knowing prejudice defies reason, and mostly managing to act responsibly. Deck is so stacked against individual freedoms, many out of fear wouldn't dare to exercise any. Bad deal when thousands of good deeds you did can be negated by one indiscretion, isn’t it? Henceforth, expect nothing from Americans, including entrepreneurial innovations and foreign aid.

Gainful employment is meant to be all important. If you can perform under withering conditions owners want and rulers set, they'll dump so many demands upon you you'll fail despite accomplishments. Patience and skills make you a slave among parasites and thieves, until you complain on your own behalf, then you'll be dismissed summarily and replaced by another dupe with impossible ambitions. Because a few do seem to reap rewards, illusion of an American dream endures. With businesses supposedly spoiled by luck in the Year of the Pig, where are foreseen generosity, honesty and prosperity? Reality supports no pure capitalism but a quasi-socialism with skewed welfare for both corporations and designated individuals, but not all in need. Double standards and exclusionary stipulations abound.

Favored news networks foster blind loyalty, glorify greed, promote inequality, suborn sedition, and whip up hostilities under a ruse of freedom of speech. They now deny Red Scare in vote tampering, as if jealous rivals weren’t motivated to ruin Americans through political division and narcotics pandering. If any argument sounds like you'll get ahead at someone else's expense, it's probably un-American and routinely unconstitutional. One in a million defies odds and ignores orders to find some measure of satisfaction. That’s when new rules are concocted that don’t affect lawmakers. Policy beats down anyone who sidesteps status quo whether or not it might topple regime. By choosing sides, conservative and liberal extremism have always been blatantly un-American. Neither describes majority, who don’t approve or rule, just kneel and knuckle under.

Safe? You are under constant threat of instant annihilation wherever you sit, more so whenever you move despite old adage about targets in motion being hard to hit. Weapons of mass destruction can be detonated anywhere (including remote test locations) without warning, obliterate everything in blast diameter, and really want to yield deadly potential given number of lunatics and terrorists intent on doing exactly that. Every month vehicles crash into businesses and homes, injuring or killing bystanders. Luckily, normal people carry on as if these facts had zero validity, so society doesn't suffer from planning lapses and poor harvests, except when leaders shut down government or pavement for personal leverage.

Rancor and trauma to which all humans are subject result in doubt, grief, guilt, malaise, moralizing, philosophizing, or worse. Lashing out acts as a curt balm but deterrent to calm and serenity. What you regret or resist will forever define you, who you only fool when you forgive self. To atone, not forgive, prompts healing. Christ on a bike who can cure with a word shall be left behind by Trump in a coupe, as actor Fred Gwynne illustrated, because evil might leans right and leaves a wake of deaths and losses. Talking heads on television never mention the term “reparation”, or see how it applies to them.

World welcomes juvenescence and renaissance without reservation. Plenty of timeline to make same mistakes of reliance on technologies that shirk duties to mankind and nature. Never trust stories from an immutable past that may never recur. All you can do lies ahead if you. Adapt self, apply logic, be flexible and smart, conduct own experiments, don't expect this paradigm to last, hope for the best, plan for the worst: zombie apocalypse.

Dreary are the winter regrets of dinged up seniors, especially those ridiculed as masters of the obvious. As Labann fades into retirement and reconsiders mortality, self preservation gets overridden as a key priority by dreams of a just society. Is it too much to ask to ride your bike in peace? Or even just get by? What little you worked so hard to accumulate will be ripped off by hidden fees, insurance premiums, nursing systems, and tax codes established strictly for that purpose. Who thinks of elder abuse, human trafficking, or identity theft as cons worse than homicide? Financially, you'll be recycled alive even before funeral strategies begin. What’s left of self will be whatever endearing or enduring work you did. Only a few figure this out or fully participate as chances allow, so billions of folks will pass largely forgotten, perhaps only by close friends and devoted family. Celebrity after death only means your career is deconstructed into a fiction that continues to serve agendas.

Some were wired for giving, so won't go against instincts by not producing. Art and literature both distract and inspire, but guarantee neither. Popular poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine personified hipster flâneur long before term was coined, promoted decadence, hedonism, and interpersonal abuse, then by all accounts regretted their bohémien rhapsody. Both died alone, too young and totally bankrupt, though deemed legends never to be eclipsed by those similarly bent. Too many presume life’s riches will always be free for the taking, an unsustainable attitude in a world facing a 60% deficit in food, fuel and water over next 5 years. Saying so will be criticized as acting un-American, behaving badly, and causing trouble, when defying duties causes all emergencies mankind must attend. Only the insane get free rein; the rest must fill roles and suffer consequences. Why pretend normalcy, and thereby forfeit notoriety and sacrifice liberty? A debate worth deliberating? Certainly.

"Best you keep your Rhyme sober and sound, lest it wander, reinless and unbound."—Verlaine

“Who is it really makin' up your mind? You want to listen to the man? Pay attention to the magistrate. And while I got you in the mood, listen to your own heart beatin’... Don’t it get you movin’... Then give it up and give it the job. I’m alright. Nobody worry 'bout me. Why you got to gimme a fight? Can't you just let it be?” Kenny Loggins, I’m Alright, Caddyshack Soundtrack (1980)